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Two branches left

Two branches left & this is not an isolated example.

Clr Phillips put up a Notice of Motion – Moratorium on street tree pruning by Ausgrid for the Council Meeting of 18th February 2014.  To read the Notice of Motion see – http://bit.ly/1jeuRBj

I was reading the business papers today & decided that Council staff comments should be shared.

“Council has no power to impose a moratorium on Ausgrid.  Under the NSW State Government legislation, the Minister of Resources & Energy has authorised the Electricity Supply Act 1995 ….. if a network operator has reasonable cause to believe that a tree could interfere with its electricity works….the network operator may trim or remove the tree.  This section applies despite the existence of a tree preservation order or environment planning instrument.”

“….Council met with Ausgrid representatives in January 2014 to discuss the recent heavy pruning of Marrickville’s street trees.  Clarification was sought as to the clearences they are required to prune to achieve.  In summary [they are] –

  • LOW VOLTAGE LINES: 1m clearance at all times & an extra 2m ‘regrowth zone’ resulting in a total 3m pruning.
  • AERIAL BUNDLED CABLE:  0.6m at all times & an extra 2m ‘regrowth zone’ resulting in a total 2.6m pruning.

As a result of the 3m clearance requirements many trees are being left unviable & disfigured.”

The outcome of this meeting is as follows –

  1. Council are writing to Networks NSW to request an amendment to the above guidelines.
  2. Ausgrid committed to improving the quality of their street tree pruning & also committed to contacting Council regarding any public tree where necessary pruning could render the tree unviable.
  3. Ausgrid will remove all tree pruning material before they leave the area, instead of leaving them overnight taking away residents car parking spaces.

Marrickville Council itself has said that they will plant only small tree species under powerlines as part of their upcoming Street Tree Master Plan.

Considering that aerial bundled cabling is expensive, I do not understand why the benefits only amount to less than half a metre.

Also, pruning to 1m below the telecommunications cables has not been mentioned.  I have received information on good authority that pruning for these cables is unnecessary, as contact with trees does not create a safety hazard.

Considering that the NBN cable will also likely be attached to powerlines in some areas, this will mean a much lower ‘regrowth zone’ if current pruning to protect telecommunications cables is followed.  If this does happen, even a small stature tree will be unsuitable for under powerlines.

To view examples of street tree pruning in Marrickville by Ausgrid in January 2014 see – http://bit.ly/1bc7QJOhttp://bit.ly/1alsNri & http://bit.ly/KR2E7Z

Council’s response to the recent tree pruning can be read here – http://bit.ly/1buApYP

There is no amenity left in this street tree in Warren Road.

There is no amenity left in this street tree in Warren Road.

Another street thee in Warren Road

Another street tree in Warren Road decimated

The top half of Warren Road, Roach Street & Wrights Avenue Marrickville was the focus of street tree pruning by power company Ausgrid yesterday.  I took these photos at dusk today.

I find it a shame that Ausgrid prunes in this manner because it does appear extreme & often the trees they leave us with have little amenity or beauty left.   Our streetscapes are starting to look very bad & this loss of canopy already has a negative impact on wildlife.  Since the latest round of pruning, we have lost birds in my street because of the loss of food for them.

However, I think the real focus should be on our own Council who chose to plant trees that they knew will grow well into, as well as above the powerlines & therefore, would need pruning by Ausgrid.  It’s like setting the trees & the streetscape up for failure. 

The look for a few years in many sections is saplings that eventually grow into young trees, some faster than others.  Once they reach a certain height the streetscape becomes a line of hacked lob-sided trees with barely any canopy.  It is this look we live with for many years until Council takes them out & starts again.  Currently, it costs $1,000 to plant a new tree. Removing trees is not cheap either.

I call this section of Warren Road ‘Tuckeroo Central’ as they are the dominant street tree.   Tuckeroos (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) are a hardy drought & pollution resistant tree that copes with a range of soils, which is why many councils use them – some would say to excess.  The Tuckeroo has non-invasive roots making it an attractive choice as a street tree.  It reaches a height of between 8-15 metres making it unsuitable for planting under powerlines in my opinion.

When planted as a feature tree, it can look fabulous, especially if the council has left the side branches, as it can grow a thick wide round canopy.  There are excellent examples in Paddington, but they don’t mind big street trees in that suburb.

The Red Ash (Alphitonia excelsa) on the left in Roach Street is a short-lived (less than 15 years) tree that can reach a height of 7–35 metres by 5–10 metres.

The Red Ash (Alphitonia excelsa) on the left in Roach Street is a short-lived tree (less than 15 years) that can reach a height of 7–35 metres by 5–10 metres.  Even 7-metres is too tall for under power lines.

Three Tuckeroos in  Wrights Avenue

Three Tuckeroos in Wrights Avenue

This is  Wrights Avenue with Tuckeroos on both sides.  It gives an indication of how tall the trees can reach, though the trees on the left are not fully grown yet.  The trees on the right were pruned yesterday.

This is Wrights Avenue with Tuckeroos on both sides. It gives an indication of how tall the trees can reach, though the trees on the left are not fully grown yet. The trees on the right were pruned yesterday.

 

 

 

 

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